Executive ghosting: Who you gonna call?

Digital ghosting is so common in corporate relationships, especially job hunting, that you  see evidence of it all over your social media channels.

According to the executives we talk with every day, ghosting is very damaging when it happens in their relationships. And most cyber security vendors we work with are being ghosted by execs all the time.

The bad news is that most vendors are using tactics that almost guarantee ghosting by the C-level execs in their key accounts.

Of course, you’re thinking you don’t do that. You would NEVER do something that would encourage an executive in a key account to ghost you. We’re sorry to tell you that you are.

Believe it or not, we’re experts at ghosting. We’ve built relationships with 91% of the C-level execs in the F500 and 81% of the F1000 and we’ve have learned a thing or two about ghosting. We know this is scary to hear but your marketing tactics are actually creating an environment that is almost guaranteed to get you ghosted.

You’re sending them gobs of emails, having your SDRs call them on a schedule just this side of annoying, inviting them to free steak dinners or corporate golf events and sending genial sales and support people to visit as often as you possibly can.

We’re here to tell you that the execs getting these offers don’t feel bad about ghosting you when you try these tactics.

We know you don’t want to hear that, but we talk to execs every day. They see these activities for what they are:  purely transactional, sales-focused activities. They are not shy about telling us that this isn’t what they want from their vendors.

We should know, while building relationships with 91% of the CISOs in the F500 and 81% of the CISOs in the F1000 we’ve been ghosted more times than we care to count. In fact, you might say we’re ghost-busting experts (we know you saw that coming from a mile away, but we couldn’t resist).

There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with any of the marketing and sales stuff you’re doing (well, maybe with the steak dinners but that’s a story for another day). We know you do them because they work, sort of.

Here’s what you’re not getting with these tactics: real, two-way communication about the executives’ priorities and goals. You’re also not getting a chance to share your views and ideas about how you can help them with their specific challenges, human-to-human.

Oh, we know you’ve got your salespeople in the conversations that result from these tactics. The problem is the nature of these conversations is heavily influenced by the environment in which they take place which tends to be noisy, distracting and rushed.  And the executives often feel like they are in situations similar to those that happen on used car lots.

We don’t have to tell you that these conditions are not ideal for any nuanced business discussion.

If the exec starts ghosting you right after they take the call, attend the dinner or sporting event or receive the gift card, you need a different approach.

You need to create the space to have a conversation about complex ideas that is not rushed or full of distractions.

As veterans of many (so many!) cyber security companies, we know that when you get ghosted after initial interest from an exec you’ll be tempted to break through the ghosting by doubling down on all of your sales and pipeline building activities; more calls, more emails, more “offers.”

And this is exactly the opposite of what the executives you’re targeting want you to do.  Yes, really.

We’ll be the first to tell you that breaking through the noise surrounding executives (especially CISOs) is not for the faint of heart. It’s also a lot more difficult for vendors.

We will also be the first to tell you that the effort required is worth it, because building real partnerships with executives who set strategy for their organizations holds the key to business growth for you, even in this very spooky season of unprecedented economic and geo-political challenges.

If you’re struggling to build resilient partnerships with the executives that matter most to your business – reach out. We’ve got the best ghost-busting chops in the business.